Plumbing failures like leaking faucets, clogged pipes, and broken fixtures are a few common issues homeowners face that require regular maintenance. In the event of a breakdown, the initial response is to seek professional help. However, luck may not always be on your side, and you might not be able to get a maintenance specialist for emergency services.
Or worse, the issue crops up on holidays or other times when your plumber is unavailable. Such a predicament would cause a significant amount of delay, and this may not only be an inconvenience, but at times, such delays could further create complications. Additionally, plumbing repair and replacements are generally an expensive affair. Thus, to protect yourself from such adverse situations, it is helpful to know standard plumbing basics.
Read on to learn about five common plumbing problems and what you can do to fix them.
1. How To Mend A Broken Pipe
Pipe bursts are a casualty that can happen without warning. If it happens during the working hours of the repairman, consider yourself lucky, else you would be in trouble. The plumber charges extra for emergency or after-hour services. Unless you have a home warranty covering your plumbing system’s repair cost, you will have to pay a hefty fee. However, if you know how to fix the issue temporarily, you might be able to save a few dollars.
In such a situation, the first thing to do is locate the shut-off valve to cut off the water supply. Once done, you can inspect the pipe to locate the leak. You can cover the leak with electrical or duct tape to prevent water leakage as a temporary fix. For holes bigger in size or damage in fittings, an epoxy putty is a bankable option as a temporary fix.
2. Adding Pipe Insulation
Are you tired of having to wait to get a hot water supply from the tap? It tends to cause inconvenience, especially when you are running behind schedule. Or during winters when you aren’t a fan of cold showers. An easy fix for this problem is to add a layer of insulation to the supply pipes to keep the water warm. By doing so, you prevent any wastage while waiting for hot water to arrive. Additionally, it helps reduce your energy bills as you need not heat the water every time you need it.
Now, you need not hire a plumber to take care of this job. All you need to do is locate any exposed areas in the hot water supply pipes. Take note to find any exposed critical areas that are on the exterior of your house. You can further mark the exposed pipes in unheated garages and attics. Adding a layer of protection to these pipes helps to prevent frozen pipes during winters and reduce energy bills in general.
To add a layer of insulation, use pipe wraps around the area in spiral loops to cover the pipe completely. Another option is to use foam pipe sleeves that cover the pipe completely. Use duct tapes to seal the ends of the pipe sleeves entirely and finish the installation. Voila, your pipe is now insulated.
3. Change Your Showerhead
Are you not feeling upbeat after a good shower because the water flow from your worn-out showerhead is irregular? You might consider calling a plumber. However, it is not entirely necessary. You can follow these simple steps and can replace the showerhead on your own.
The first step is to close the faucet to stop the water supply to the shower. Now, remove the showerhead by turning it anti-clockwise. If it is rusted, you will need a wrench to remove the fitting. Upon removing the fitting, clean the area for any dirt or dust on the threads using an old toothbrush or paper towel. Once done, cover the threads by wrapping around the thread sealing tape in a clockwise manner.
To smoothen the tapes, apply pressure between the tape and the thread with your fingers. Before you install your showerhead, read the product guidelines to find out whether you need a wrench or not. If you don’t, then you can quickly fix the showerhead by rotating it clockwise. Else take help of a wrench. Post installing, check for any leaks and tighten the head to make it stop. Make other adjustments that are required, and you’re good to go!
4. Fixing a Clogged Garbage Disposal
The garbage disposal unit is prone to get clogged due to a variety of factors like not flushing enough water, grinding potato or banana peels, and even eggshells. When the clog occurs, you will find that the issue lies in the waste discharge area of the disposer. Over some time, the food waste might get accumulated at the waste line and form a blockage. The clog can cause significant disruption in the functioning of your kitchen. Hence, it needs to be fixed immediately. Luckily you can do so yourself! Here’s how you can do it.
With the help of pliers, you can remove the P-trap located beneath the disposal unit. Keep a bucket beneath the trap to allow all the contents, generally food waste and water, to fall in the bucket. Paper towels will be handy to clear any spillage. Clean any clogs, if present, with the help of a small brush. Check the trap arm and clear out any clogs in a similar manner. Once you are sure that the trap is clean, reassemble the drain pipe and tighten the fittings with your hands.
5. Replace/Install The Faucet Aerator
A faucet aerator is placed at the end of the kitchen sink or bathroom faucets. This device is a helpful addition to the faucet as they make the water stream easier to use by making the flow smoother. The faucet aerator may get worn out or get clogged with age, thereby requiring a replacement.
All you need to do is remove the aerator by rotating it counterclockwise. You might see the clog due to sediment deposition once you remove the device. Clean up the clog with the help of a brush or wire, and install the new aerator by rotating it clockwise.
Hiring a professional to take care of your plumbing projects in the house is always a good idea. However, these fundamental plumbing issues require simple fixes that you can do yourself. As a homeowner, you must be aware of these plumbing basics. It will surely make your life easier.